Launch Review: Chery Tiggo 8 Pro
Johannesburg - South Africans like nothing better than a good deal. And over the past few months there’s a new player in the automotive industry that’s ruffled a few feathers.
I say new, but Chery have been here before albeit with products that were less than satisfactory before they reassessed their commitment and towards the end of last year brought in the Chery Tiggo 4 Pro.
It’s been receiving good press both from owners and the motoring media thanks largely to its price, finishings and the high level of specification you get. It’s also one of the 2022 Car of the Year finalists.
So it made sense for the Chinese company to follow the sales success they are having with the 4 Pro with a larger SUV that’s a seven seater in the shape of the Tiggo 8 Pro.
The reason I say we like a good deal is because before we get to the driving impressions, at R496 900 for the Distinctive model and with the fully specced Executive coming in at R546 900, you’re getting a lot of car for a very good price.
Chery calls their design language “Movement Design” that talks about bionics, aesthetics and striking presence. It’s a good looking car with the eye-catching three-dimensional grille setting the tone for the rest of its lines.
It’s inside though that grabs your attention. As is so often the case these days, especially in top end cars, everything is digital. Behind the steering wheel is a 12.3-inch screen that displays all the necessary information such as speed and revolutions but can also adapt to display much of the infotainment and mobile phone information as it should be.
It’s not really a gripe but I would have liked an option for traditional (digital) dials on the screen with needles showing you speed and revs. Just above the gear lever an eight-inch screen handles all the climate control functions that include front, middle and rear zones.
The centre of the dash is dominated by a 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system that’s Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatible and also shows front, rear and side camera images with very cool graphics. It’s very sensitive though and eventually we switched it off in stop start Joburg traffic as it would engage with the slightest movement of the vehicles on either side or pedestrians crossing the road.
There are quality soft touch and leather surfaces throughout the interior and brushed aluminium with no sharp edge in sight. The electrically adjustable seats though put the Tiggo 8 Pro in a different league.
In the Distinctive model all seven seats are leather clad and in the Executive version, which we drove, you get black and brown leather with a diamond-stitched pattern. They would not be out of place in a premium brand at twice the price with comfort and support in all the right places.
Both models come with ambient lighting and in the Executive option, privacy glass.
So it’s a good looking package with a high-quality interior but what’s it like to drive?
Not bad at all.
Under the bonnet is Chery’s 1.6-litre TGDI turbo charged petrol engine with 145kW and 290Nm, which drives the front wheels via a smooth seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.
It’s certainly no slouch but it could do with a software tweak when it comes to acceleration calibration. It tends to go from waiting for a while for the horses to kick in to hero very quickly.
It’s no train smash though and as an owner over time you will adjust your driving style accordingly.
Once you’re on the go though, the Tiggo 8 Pro’s chassis, suspension and engine combine well and it cruises effortlessly, made more pleasant by the comfortable seats and soft headrest.
For an SUV this size it handles well, which we got to experience on a number of occasions as we weaved through potholes (what else!?) on our way to the Vaal dam. It’s a good thing then that there are a plethora of safety features should things go awry.
It has six airbags, traction control, roll stability control, ABS with EBD, emergency brake assist and ISOFIX child seat anchors and in the Executive model the intelligent safety package that has every acronym you could wish for.
We averaged just over 11 l/100km switching between eco, standard and sport modes.
As a complete package the Chery Tiggo 8 Pro provides a real value offering, there’s not much fault to be found and with 50 dealers around the country they’ve certainly thrown down the gauntlet.
All models are sold with a five-year/60 000km service plan and five-year/150 000km warranty, as well as Chery’s 10-year/1-million-kilometre warranty, which only applies to the first owner.